Flashbang organisers say unfamiliarity with artists was behind controversy

Reena Devi
Lifestyle Reporter
Photo: Reena Devi/Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore

Organisers for Flashbang say the recent controversy about their invitation to musicians and buskers to perform at their event for exposure was due to their unfamiliarity with engaging artists.

Speaking with Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore during the event media preview, Kent Teo, Founder and CEO of Invade Industry, which organised Flashbang, said, “All along our purpose was retail-centric, so [regarding] the local music scene we were not too familiar; that’s why we had to gather input from everyone.”

Earlier this month, musician Amanda Tee posted on Facebook an email she received from Invade inviting her to perform at Flashbang, Singapore’s first and largest creative retail playground in Orchard Road.

Her post went viral with artists and online netizens unhappy about the lack of mention of payment and that “public contributions” would be accepted, leaving monetary compensation to the public. Subsequently, Invade sent out an apology email to the artists.

In spite of the online flak from musicians such as Tee and Sam Driscoll, organisers have managed to fill all the slots for their paid performances and have also invited professional emcees to host their open mic performances. A total of 11 musicians were engaged for the event.

“To me it’s a good thing (because) through this experience, we are able to engage more meaningfully with the artists and make some friends as well, who said next time they will help us plan,” said Teo.

This inaugural edition of Flashbang, held from 9 to 30 December, includes spaces for partying and craft workshops in addition to the usual retail and F&B outlets. Visitors can look forward to multi-platform structures with chill spaces around the stage arena or other areas.

Photo: Reena Devi/Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore

Organisers said they have learned their lesson from the issues of overcrowding at Artbox Singapore held at Bayfront in April 2017 and built upwards, creating multi-platform structures for retail and chilling spaces.

They even brought in Big Tiny, the first company in Singapore to integrate the concept of tiny houses with eco-tourism. A tiny house is located on site providing air-conditioned comfort to visitors.

There will also be night activities including light tunnel walkways, sculptures providing the perfect photo opportunity for Instagrammers, and a Glow Up area providing accessories like body paints, glowsticks, glitter and tattoos.

“We want to give visitors a different experience from the retail malls,” said Teo. “We are trying to bring people out of their houses – enough of their online shopping or typical neighbourhood kind of urban malls – and bring them a key lifestyle experience.”

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